The Insider: Rise to the challenge and save a bit of dough on breadmakers
Saturday 01 August 2009
There can be a surprising amount of salt in shop-bought bread: eating just two slices of a normal branded, medium-sliced, white loaf could give you just over 15 per cent of your recommended daily intake. So, whether you're looking to reduce your salt intake, or just want to enjoy the smell and taste of freshly baked bread, you might want to think about baking your own.
A stylish breadmaker packed full of programs and features can be bought for around £100, but you don't have to pay all that to get your hands on a decent machine. Good models are available for between £40 and £80, and supermarket own-brand ones are even cheaper.
"You can save money by making your own bread, but the big benefit is that you can choose exactly what ingredients you use, which means you can limit your intake of salt or sugar," says Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? "Baking your own bread can also be more satisfying than buying it, and there's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning."
Breadmakers can produce white, brown, wholemeal and granary loaves, and some can produce a variety of speciality breads as well. They usually offer a variety of baking programs, and you can select different loaf sizes or crust finishes. Alternatively, if you want to make bread rolls, buns or croissants, you can use a breadmaker to do all the labour-intensive kneading and then remove the dough, leave it to rise and bake it in the oven.
Nearly all breadmakers can also bake cakes, and come with a selection of recipes to get your started. Most machines don't mix the ingredients though, so you'll have to do any stirring, beating and folding yourself, with the breadmaker only taking care of the baking cycle. You can also use them to make jam and knead pasta dough. Morphy Richards' 48271 Accents breadmaker (£90, pictured below left) scored highest in Which?'s latest test. It was praised by testers for being easy to use and baking particularly good bread, even on the "rapid bake" setting, though at 1 hour 38 minutes the program is not as rapid as some other models, and the machine is also quite heavy.
Another high scorer was the Panasonic SD-254 (£78, pictured left), which produced good quality bread across the board and excellent cakes. A slight drawback is that there's no viewing window, so you can't keep your eye on the bread, and there's no dispenser for nuts or raisins if you want to make speciality bread. The Panasonic SD-255 is almost identical but comes with a dispenser for adding extra ingredients.
Where to buy
Most high street, independent and online retailers now stock breadmakers. The ranges change every couple of years so you could find a bargain when new models first hit the shelves. You can also check out stockists and compare the latest prices using Which?'s price comparison service www.whichcompare.co.uk.
Questions to ask
How versatile is it?
If you're keen to bake cakes, make jam or mix pasta dough, do your research before you buy to check that the model you choose is up to the job.
How many programs does it have?
Most breadmakers will allow you to choose from a range of loaf sizes and crust shades, and have a range of programs for baking with different types of flour and producing different styles of bread.
What timer settings does it have?
It usually takes around three hours to bake a loaf, but a rapid bake setting can do the job much quicker – sometimes in under an hour. A long delay timer means that you should be able to set your machine before you go to bed and wake up to freshly made bread the following morning.
What colours does it come in?
There's not much choice of finishes – usually white or stainless steel – but one of these two finishes will complement most kitchens. Look for a viewing window if you want to check how well it is rising while it bakes.
The Insider is written by Which?, the independent consumer champion. For more information go to www.which.co.uk/breadmakers. To get three issues of Which? magazine for a special price of £3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.
Budget 2015: George Osborne is set to get tough with further cuts in public spending
Bargain Hunter: Our exclusive deal cuts the cost of buying foreign currency by 20 per cent
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Simon Read: 'Taylor Swift tickets purchased on Viagogo were cancelled hours before the concert'
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.